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Short-handed Knights look to build off historic 2011 season

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The linemen lead Ripon Christian’s offense out of the huddle before running a play.


POSTED August 23, 2012 1:38 a.m.

RIPON — The Knights are coming off the most successful campaign in school history.

Ripon Christian High finished 5-2 in the Southern League, good enough for a second-place tie with Mariposa — Le Grand took the league title — and 7-5 overall while earning a trip to the postseason.

The Knights rolled past Sierra Ridge in the opener of the Division VI playoff opener, 60-26. Quarterback Danny Vos completed 9 of 17 passes for 141 yards and Andrew Brown had 276 yards from the line of scrimmage, including 213 yards rushing. He also scored five TDs in the win, the first postseason victory in school history.

In the semifinals, they lost to eventual section champions Bradshaw Christian, 61-40.

During the offseason, RC made a few changes. For starters, John Vander Schaaf, who has been the head coach for the past few seasons, now shares those duties with Randy Fasani.

Fasani, who came aboard last year as the offensive coordinator, is revered, in part, because of his resume. He saw action in the NFL as quarterback for the Carolina Panthers (he also had stints with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets).

Prior to that, Fasani played at Stanford under then-coach Tyrone Willingham – he started eight games at quarterback as a junior, earning All-Pac 10 honorable mentions as a senior after passing for 1,479 yards with 13 TDs and four interception –  and came in as a prep All-American out of Del Oro High.

The Knights held extensive workouts during the off season, according to Vander Schaaf.

He praised those who stayed committed.

“The kids we have are dedicated,” said Vander Schaaf, who was left with 16 players for preseason practices.

Included are Vos, Brown, linemen Clayton Blakers and Eric Broker, reciever Brandon Dotinga and Casey Kamper, a standout on the sophomore squad last year.

“We have a strong group of skill players,” Vander Schaaf added.

He’s hoping to add some depth from pulling players from the lower levels.

Age, however, could be sticking point. Lower level players must be age 15 in order to play varsity football, according to the California Interscholastic Federation. The sum of the underclassmen that the RC coaches are considering bringing up fall shy of the age requirement. Vander Schaaf hinted at petitioning the rule based on the sparse number of players on his roster.

Rounding out the RC coaching staff are Bill Kamps and Kevin Van Donselaar. Michael Dotinga, Try Ozenbaugh, and Eddy Erdalatz will handle the lower level teams.

On offense, the Knights will operate out of multiple sets.

On the other side of the ball, they’ll employ a base 4-4 defense.

As for the Southern League forecast, RC will battle the likes of LeGrand, Mariposa and Waterford for the top spot.

“I think we can be somewhere in that mix,” he said.

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